As the group are progressing up the mountain path, they suffers an ambush by raccoon dogs. After the raccoons have been dispatched, the quiet was interrupted by a monk procession, with flute and drum, who say they have been sent out to find the group. Zhou, their guide offers his farewell and tips out his basket, the one that contained String Whiskers. The party follow the monks back into the mountains to discover a little hidden temple. As they come into the courtyard, they see there is a table with two bent figures umming and erring over small tiles – a game of some kind. One is a dwarf, very hairy, and the other is a old turtle man, bent on staff, humming peacefully.. They watch while the elders play. The turtle wins and the drawn complains that his fellow cheats, and wanders off in search of a drink.
The turtle stays, and listens to the tale of their journey to find the secrets of clay shaping, and then starts to ramble about another hidden monastery that has what they seek. In the forest is a shrine to Galana, that has been forgotten but has be not stopped “existing”. In this shrine is an old earthenware jar filled with water. The water holds apparently holds special powers and anyone who drinks from it will be able to partake of the sacred trail. This trial will aid Meridith to cleanse her soul in order to have the clay, as even unconscious thought could taint it. They are sent with a dandy little sparrow samurai to lead them down through to the Grove, to the shine, which has 5 alcoves. Meredith drinks the water and thick black smoke begins to emanate from her, filling the alcoves which form into things.
The first alcove coalesces into the form of a large dwarf in full plate. This shadow challenges her and speaks of all her fury in her soul, the killing of monsters, and saying foes in the name of her god, giving voice to her fears. Then the shadow attacks her. The group is permitted to assist her, and they all join in battle.
The second resolves into a deep, empty cowled figure with a long thin blade dripping with shadow venom, that speaks of her fears. The third is her hatred, looking like a full plated shadow cleric, with a ball and chain, who summons skeletons that goad her with cries that she killed them. The fourth is the aspect of despair with a long slow dolorous voice, and a song so sad it tries to tear their hearts.
The fifth shadow displays the aspect of pride, it is an armoured warrior with a massive bastard sword, that is perfect and balanced and measured. It tries to make the group believe that they were all better than each other.
All five aspects are defeated with a few injuries.
The group all feel lightened, now their souls are clear of strife and sin. They return to the monastery where the old turtle gives them special tea to heal them. The turtle then offers them a way to get home, showing them a stone circle with many other monks painting runes and lighting incense. At the back, a fox cleric with many tails sits chanting and eventually sends them back to the wizards tower in Toreguard.
When the group gets back they are immediately thrown back into the fray. Irvine has come to collect Alphonse, telling him about his work on case of The Blown Up Wall. The group of “adventurers” that did the exploding has been tracked to a warehouse in the inner city, and are holed up there. Irvine tells them he has been observing them, and documenting movments in and out of the place, and that he has narrowed them down to thus:
An elven ranger, who supposedly said she was part of the main group, and used that to move around the city;
A goblin wearing a human skin as a disguise, who drives the coach;
A werewolf wearing some kind of odd robes who may be a druid;
An orc cleric; a half orc monk who only has a staff;
A small band of kobolds who have a clear leader who has been digging in the basement laying gunpowder;
A team of 5 orc boatmen;
And an ogre.
This team from this base in the middle of town have been using the coach to get around in secret, including a big incident: going towards the south east gate, killing all the guards, taking the tower and besieging it. They also dressed up as guards, took down the gate, and sent word to the siege, hanging a banner on the wall giving explicit instructions on how to get in. They also used escaped criminals to try distract guards to allow the gate to be opened, and escaped in a dark oblong. From there they have vanished, hopefully never to return to Toreguard again.
However the main group – the Heros of this story – still have tidying up to do after this evil group, including the apprehension of ‘Butcher’ Krieg, who has gathered the remaining criminals and is hold up in the warehouse and holding out against the Watch.
When the group arrive there are hundreds of people gathered around, and Alphonse, after assurances from Irvine, tells the lieutenant to get everyone away, out of the range of the crappy crossbows and bows.
Alphonse sends Irvines rats in for intel, and String-Whiskers casts darkness, effectively smoking the criminals out, where there is an affray and several arrests are turned into deaths. Whiskers and Irvine try to sneak in the back, and but get caught before they can do much, so the group wade in to save them.
After they break through into the main area, they discover String-Whiskers and Irvine are hanging above a stew of necrosis with Butcher holding the leaver, demanding that they drop their weapons. They start to, but then Lorc performs hold person, which stops the drop of String-Whiskers and Irvine. They manage to beat everyone up, and get all the bad guys arrested, and save their silly, but brave, companions.
Alphonse speaks to the Captain, resulting in a promotion for himself and Irvine, as the Captain admits that maybe Alph isn’t a complete waste of space.
The group then get handed another case: to find out what’s going on with the wall and the disappearance of the second group. So they leave the city and head towards the place the train blew up in the south, however they are spotted and surrounded by orcs, and are taken before the boss orc, who says they should be taken back to the blown up depo.
A shadowy orc, leaning on a staff, greets them coldly, and begins to monologue about how the others had already escaped. He turns away and orders the minion orcs to fire when ready. However Alphonse takes offense and starts to butcher the orcs, with some assistance from the others. The boss orc is not impressed, and turns around but Enizeag barrels him over. The orc retaliates, grasping Enizeag firmly by the throat. Once he is back on his feet, the orc calls forth a rent in the earth, that slowly fills with lava. He then opens a portal to ‘home’, stating: ‘how dare you threaten a cleric of the 20th level!’. He then drops Enizeag and walks into his portal, to leave the minions to deal with them. They deal with the few minions left, and then decide maybe it’s time to get the hell out of there.